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Review: Ranger - Knights of Darkness
Knights of Darkness

Label: Ektro Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 23:51
Tracks: 5
Genre: Speed Metal


Review online: November 4, 2013
Reviewed by: MetalMike
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Rated 4.28/5 (85.56%) (18 Votes)

What is it with countries in northern Europe producing world-class 80s-flavored Heavy Metal bands? Something in the melting ice, maybe? Whatever it is, it works for me. The latest pitch-perfect slab of nostalgia comes to us courtesy of Finland's Ranger, whose debut EP, Knights of Darkness on Ektro Records, follows on the heels of several demos. Knights of Darkness is a 20 pound sledgehammer that hits the Show No Mercy nail squarely on the head. Vicious, frenetic Speed Metal blazes from the speakers. Singer Dimi, who also handles bass, doesn't necessarily sound like Tom Araya, but his alternating gruff mid-range and ear-piercing screams are a dead ringer for the Slayer front man's delivery. Guitarist Jaakko and Mikael abuse their instruments with non-stop riffing and wild solos that would do Hanneman/King proud. The tone of the lyrics is dark but not as satanic as Show No Mercy. Lest you think Ranger is a one-trick pony, there is more than just a Slayer influence audible on Knights of Darkness, most notably a strong Killing Is My Business...era Megadeth undercurrent.

I may have made Knights of Darkness sound like nothing more than a rehash of some of the classics of Speed Metal but nothing could be further from the truth. Ranger certainly stand on the shoulders of giants but have their own take on the sound, something I expect them to refine as their collective career moves forward. If you love Speed Metal from the 80s the way I do, do not, I repeat, do not miss Knights of Darkness.

More about Ranger...
Review: Shock Skull (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Skull Splitting Metal! (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: Speed & Violence (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Where Evil Dwells (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: Where Evil Dwells (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Ylös raunioista / Risen From The Ruins (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist Jaakko Hietakangas on January 29, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with drummer Miko Sipilä on March 3, 2021 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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